This week I'm sharing three perspectives on the decision of whether or not to attend a twenty year high school reunion. All three voices are from the same high school in a small town, so the circumstances (school, town, class, dynamics) are roughly similar. And yet each approach to this event was different. Read Part One.
Disclosure: The three perspectives I'm sharing on the blog this week are all friends from my teenage years, all graduates from my same high school. A few grades ahead of me, they are discussing their decisions to attend or not attend their twenty-year reunion. This series came out of a conversation we had together.
Part II comes from Jaime. Jaime decided early not to attend her reunion, mainly because of her daughter's long-scheduled sporting event. Of everyone, I was the most surprised by this decision because Jaime was the pom squad captain and valedictorian of her senior class. If anyone can consider high school to be a raging success, in my mind it would have been Jaime. I figured who else could feel more nostalgic and sentimental?
And yet, Jaime's decision not to go to the reunion weekend wasn't resolute. She wasn't, as she describes, making some grand point. In fact, she told me later that her teenage accolades and accomplishments didn't even enter her mind. She insisted that her approach to the reunion wasn't all that worth noting, but I disagree and really wanted to share it here. Because it seems like the people who were bullied in high school or had an otherwise miserable experience, and understandably refuse to go to reunions, are perhaps the minority. I think a lot of people who don't go simply feel like Jaime:
(This is transcribed from a voxer conversation, and has been lightly edited for clarity.)
I don’t think it’s all that complicated. And I actually don’t feel like it’s all that interesting. I could have gone if I had really wanted to. It would have been a scheduling challenge for our family of five, but I could have done it. But I just would rather go watch my daughter Ellie play basketball.
I like the people she is on her basketball team with. I mean, I like the families. And she’s doing some cool stuff right now that I’m really glad I didn’t miss. Not just in basketball, but as a human. It was a really cool weekend with her and we got lots of drive time on the way to the tournament. She’s turning into quite a little person. She’s funny and interesting and growing and changing and has really similar tastes in music to me. She was in charge of the radio all weekend and I don’t know, I’m really really glad I made the decision I did.
I was confirmed in that decision: instead of going and seeing people who I have a history with, I guess I spent the weekend with my little girl who is turning into this whole new person I don’t know yet. I just mean in the sense that none of us really knows how this little person is going to end up. So you don’t want to miss the basketball tournaments on the road of life, you know?
I have a good life where I am. There's nothing I'm running away from in my past, but neither do I feel the need to prove anything to anyone or go back and say "Look where I ended up." I'm not perfect, but I'm fine with how I look, and I'm fine with my family. It was almost like choosing between going to dinner or going to a movie, and I chose dinner.
I guess it is kind of funny that many of the people I would have seen at the reunion, my history with them really started around the same time and the same age that Ellie is now. But this weekend, right now, I would rather choose my normal life over this moment-in-time experience.